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The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 8 (2013) 1-20

Understanding Enmity and Friendship in World Politics: The Case for a Diplomatic Approach
Corneliu Bjola*
Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3TB, United Kingdom
Received: 7 June 2012; revised: 9 August 2012; accepted: 15 October 2012

Summary This article invites diplomatic scholars to a debate about the identity of diplomacy as a field of study and the contributions that it can make to our understanding of world politics relative to international relations theory (IR) or foreign policy analysis (FPA). To this end, the article argues that the study of diplomacy as a method of building and managing relationships of enmity and friendship in world politics can most successfully firm up the identity of the discipline. More specifically, diplomacy offers a specialized form of knowledge for understanding how to draw distinctions between potential allies versus rivals, and how to make and unmake relationships of enmity and friendship in world politics. Keywords enmity, friendship, diplomacy, collective intentionality

Introduction What makes diplomacy relevant to the study of international politics? What distinct insights does it offer us for understanding how the world hangs together relative to more established disciplines such as international relations (IR) or foreign policy analysis (FPA)? What epistemological boundaries delineate the field of diplomatic enquiry and how helpful are they in assisting scholars theorize about conditions of conflict and cooperation in world politics or about considerations of power, authority and legitimacy as constitutive frameworks of international conduct? In short, what turns diplomacy into a core analytical and practical method of international engagement? These questions go to the heart of diplomatic
*) The author is grateful to the John Fell Fund of Oxford University Press for generously funding this research. He would also like to thank Costas M. Constantinou, Gunther Hellmann and the rest of participants in the workshop on The Transformation of Foreign Policy and Diplomacy at the 2012 ECPR joint session for their constructive criticism on an earlier version of this article. Last but not least, he is grateful to the anonymous referees and the editors of The Hague Journal of Diplomacy for their very helpful comments.
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2013 DOI: 10.1163/1871191X-12341242

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studies, but the answers, unfortunately, are far from clear, despite the richness of the diplomatic tradition1 and the robust testimony that is provided by prominent practitioners in support of diplomatic methods.2 Take, for instance, the case of a recent forum on the present and future state of diplomacy and diplomatic studies.3 The articles included in the forum argued that diplomacy and diplomatic theory offered critical insights for a more nuanced understanding of international relations. However, none of them explained what diplomacy stood for as a distinct field of study, nor did they clearly specify what kind of instruments diplomatic scholars require to examine the work of diplomats. For a discipline that aspires to escape the epistemic shadow of IR and FPA and to showcase the value of its conceptual and empirical contributions to the understanding of world politics, omitting to outline the core elements of the disciplines identity is not strikingly helpful. This article invites diplomatic scholars to a debate about the identity of diplomacy as a field of study and the contributions that it can make to our understanding of world politics relative to IR or FPA. This debate has long been overdue, but the timing is right. As Sharp points out, there has never been a better time for studying diplomacy. The United States is rediscovering it. The European Union is reinventing it. The Chinese are inscribing it with their own characteristics. Even the Taliban are thinking about it.4 The main argument advanced in this article is that current approaches to the study of diplomacy offer insufficient resources to diplomatic theory to escape from the epistemic shadow of IR and FPA. To compensate for this limitation, the article proposes an alternative mode of thinking about diplomacy as a method of managing relations of enmity and friendship in world politics. This thesis is developed in three steps. The first section of the article examines the epistemological differences between IR, FPA and diplomacy and explains why the issue of relationship-building may help to consolidate the disciplinary identity of diplomacy. The second part critically reviews extant theories of enmity and friendship and discusses their relevance for diplomatic studies. The third section introduces the concept of collective intentionality as a theoretical anchor for understanding the diplomatic construction of relationships of enmity and friendship in world politics.

Christer Jnsson and Richard Langhorne, Diplomacy, 3 vols, Sage Library of International Relations (London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004). 2) Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994); and Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership (New York: Basic Books, 2004). 3) S. Murray et al., The Present and Future of Diplomacy and Diplomatic Studies, International Studies Review, vol. 13, no. 4, 2011. 4) Murray et al., The Present and Future of Diplomacy and Diplomatic Studies, pp. 716-717.


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How to Study Diplomacy? A discussion about what makes diplomacy distinct from IR and FPA cannot proceed without first clarifying a) whether there is a fundamental difference between the theory and practice of diplomacy, and b) whether the study of diplomacy requires a distinct epistemology that is, a distinct set of guiding principles and ideas by which to discover and acquire knowledge about diplomatic relations. With respect to the first question, the theory/practice dualism clearly remains a point of dispute among diplomatic scholars and, one might argue, rightly so. As pointed out by Jnsson and Hall, the bulk of the literature on diplomacy has been written either by practitioners or diplomatic historians, neither of whom are much interested in theoretical and conceptual development.5 On the other hand, those engaged in theory namely IR scholars have rather been, with a few notable exceptions to be discussed further below, oblivious to the study of diplomacy. As a result, a gap has allegedly emerged between the theory and practice of diplomacy, to the extent that the two camps do not comfortably speak to each other. This article, however, rejects rigidly following the logic of the theory/practice dualism. A strict separation of theory versus the practice of diplomacy is not helpful for either. Diplomacy is a way of conducting international relations, thinking about these relations and also doing enquiry.6 To claim that the theoretical study of diplomacy has different objectives and methods than the study of the practice of diplomacy is to acknowledge indirectly the fact that the former has little relevance for the conduct of diplomacy while the latter occurs within a conceptual void. This is clearly not the case, as many diplomatic scholars and serving diplomats would likely rush to admit. Hedley Bulls observation that diplomatic theory may simply be understood as the set of leading ideas produced by diplomats and by those who study them7 provides a more nuanced and accurate interpretation of the symbiotic role that both theory and practice play in the constitution of diplomacy as a field of study. The second question about epistemology is even more important. Does the study of diplomacy require a distinct epistemology for making sense of how diplomats work, and if so, of what kind? By unveiling areas of epistemological convergence/divergence with diplomacy, IR and FPA, a brief review of the evolution of diplomatic studies may help to provide a tentative answer to this question. IR emerged at the end of the First World War as a theoretical successor to traditional diplomatic approaches,8 offering a relatively easy-to-grasp conceptual apparatus

Christer Jnsson and Martin Hall, Essence of Diplomacy (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), p. 7. The author is grateful to one of the reviewers for this point. 7) Cited in Paul Sharp, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 6. 8) Edward Hallett Carr, The Twenty Years Crisis, 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International

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that was predominantly linked to the realist school of thought. It promised to provide a more scientific understanding of the general laws underpinning international politics, whether they were rooted in human nature9 or in structural conditions of the international system.10 By disputing the analytical reductionism of diplomatic studies, IR theory claimed to have a superior epistemological edge in explaining and predicting international politics. As suggested by Waltz, foreign policy theories promise to explain why states that are similarly placed in a system behave in different ways, while IR theories examine why states that are similarly placed in a system behave similarly despite internal differences.11 In other words, actors behaviour in international politics has been deemed by IR scholars to be predominantly shaped by broader social structures, most notably anarchy or the market, rather than unit-level factors such as the decision-makers psychology or domestic politics, and therefore, or so the argument goes, analyses of international outcomes cannot be reduced to the latter.12 While IR theory managed to distinguish itself against diplomacy on the question of the causal weight of systemic structures versus internal properties of international actors, foreign policy analysis avowedly parted company with diplomacy on the issue of the method. The advent of the behaviouralist movement13 triggered the famous second IR debate about the relative merits of scientific versus historicalsociological methods for understanding international politics.14 The debate ended inconclusively, but it helped to reinject life in the study of diplomacy, albeit from two distinct perspectives. On the one hand, FPA emerged as a well-structured and ambitious comparative research programme, emphasizing the scientific study of decision-making and organizational processes of foreign policy,15 in contrast to the more historical, legalistic and actor-specific accounts of traditional diplomatic scholarship. On the other hand, a norm-driven understanding of diplomacy inspired a distinct research agenda from the perspective of the English School intellectual tradition,16 which focused not necessarily on
Relations (London: Macmillan, 1940). 9) Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace (New York: Knopf, 1st edition 1948). 10) Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979). 11) International Politics Is Not Foreign Policy, Security Studies, vol. 6, no. 1, 1996, p. 54. 12) Alexander Wendt, Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 11-12. 13) Morton A. Kaplan, System and Process in International Policies (New York: Wiley, 1957); and Richard N. Rosecrance, Action and Reaction in World Politics (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1963). 14) Hedley Bull, International Theory: The Case for a Classical Approach, World Politics, vol. 18, no. 3, 1966. 15) Graham T. Allison, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1971); K.J. Holsti, National Role Conceptions in the Study of Foreign Policy, International Studies Quarterly. vol. 14, 1970; Irving L. Janis, Victims of Groupthink: A Psychological Study of ForeignPolicy Decisions and Fiascoes (Boston, MA: Houghton, 1972); and James N. Rosenau, The Scientific Study of Foreign Policy (New York: Free Press, 1971). 16) Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (Houndmills: Macmillan, 2nd

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providing an explanatory/causal theory of international politics, but on developing a framework for thinking and debating about international relations.17 The failure of the IR theory to anticipate the end of the Cold War led many scholars to revisit the materialist and structural assumptions of traditional IR approaches, such as neo-realism and neo-liberalism. The rise of the constructivist school addressed the materialist limitation, hence the redefinition of the concept of anarchy as what states make of it.18 On the other hand, a new theoretical agenda of unit-level explanations of international conduct challenged the structuralist limitation. The latter objective was taken up by a new cohort of rationalchoice FPA researchers who began to develop rationalcognitive refinements of the mechanisms by which foreign policy options get specified,19 selected20 and reflected in outcomes.21 However, for a few others, the FPAs meta-theoretical assumptions were actually too severe to ignore,22 as they largely overlooked the constitutive processes of diplomatic interactions, which required an understanding of diplomatic methods as structures of power relations that emerged not exclusively prior to actors interactions but also through diplomatic engagement. The study of foreign policy as identity construction,23 deliberative process24 and argumentation-based negotiation25 has thus emerged as an important research
edition 1995); Herbert Butterfield, Martin Wight and Hedley Bull, Diplomatic Investigations: Essays in the Theory of International Politics (London: Allen & Unwin, 1966); and Adam Watson, Diplomacy: The Dialogue between States (London: Methuen, 1984). 17) Hidemi Suganami, The English School and International Theory, in Alex J. Bellamy (ed.), International Society and its Critics (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 42. 18) Alexander Wendt, Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics, International Organization, vol. 46, no. 2, 1992. 19) V.M. Hudson, Foreign Policy Analysis: Actor-Specific Theory and the Ground of International Relations, Foreign Policy Analysis, vol. 1, no. 1, 2005; Donald A. Sylvan and James F. Voss, Problem Representation in Foreign Policy Decision-making (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). 20) R.D. Putnam, Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of 2-Level Games, International Organization, vol. 42, no. 3, 1988; Rose McDermott, Political Psychology in International Relations (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2004); and Richard Carlton Snyder et al., Foreign Policy Decision-Making Revisited (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002). 21) David A. Welch, Painful Choices: A Theory of Foreign Policy Change (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005). 22) Walter Carlsnaes, Agency-Structure Problem in Foreign Policy Analysis, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 3, 1992; and Steve Smith, Theories of Foreign Policy: A Historical Overview, Review of International Studies, vol. 12, 1986. 23) Ted Hopf, Social Construction of International Politics: Identities and Foreign Policies, Moscow, 1955 and 1999 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002); Janice Bially Mattern, Ordering International Politics: Identity, Crisis, and Representational Force (New York: Routledge, 2004); and David Campbell, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1998). 24) Jennifer Mitzen, Reading Habermas in Anarchy: Multilateral Diplomacy and Global Public Spheres, American Political Science Review, vol. 99, no. 3, 2005; and Corneliu Bjola, Legitimizing the Use of Force in International Politics: Kosovo, Iraq and the Ethics Of Intervention, Contemporary Security Studies (London and New York: Routledge, 2009). 25) Nicole Deitelhoff, The Discursive Process of Legalization: Charting Islands of Persuasion in the ICC Case, International Organization, vol. 63, no. 1, 2009; and J. Wilkenfeld et al., Mediating International

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avenue, alongside FPA, providing an intellectual home to a new generation of diplomacy-oriented scholars. In sum, diplomatic studies have been the subject of three distinct disciplinary divides. It was first left behind by IR on account of its overrating of the role of agency in explaining international outcomes. It then set itself apart from FPA on methodological grounds, but it survived as a sub-field of IR under the mantle of the English School. Finally, it has recently sought an epistemological compromise with constructivist IR by emphasizing the shared interest in the mutual constitution of agents and structures. As a result, the community of diplomatic scholars has a rather eclectic composition. A number of international historians and practice-oriented scholars owe their position to the first and partially to the second epistemological split. One important other group is the product of the English School legacy. A third group of constructivist-oriented diplomatic scholars come out of the third disciplinary rift. Finally, a fourth group is made of more traditional IR scholars with an occasional interest in diplomatic questions. The review of the evolution of diplomatic studies is, by necessity, short and does limited justice to the complex and dynamic interrelationship of IR, FPA and various schools of diplomatic thought. However, the purpose of this review is not to write the history of the IR discipline, but only to provide a helpful background for mapping the principles underlying a number of competing epistemologies of diplomatic study. Three distinct approaches have tentatively gained recognition thus far. The first approach takes the view that diplomacy is a practical mode of conducting international relations. The spread of norms of democratic accountability and the advance of communication technologies have led to the centralization of foreign policy in the hands of a few decision-makers, thus gradually yet substantially reducing the political authority and policy autonomy of diplomats.26 Accordingly, diplomats work now largely involves juggling different bureaucratic scripts, governed by a code of conduct that rewards institutional conformity, protocol compliance and political self-effacement over policy innovation, critical engagement and diplomatic leadership.27 This approach has captured the attention of practitioners and diplomatic historians interested in the day-to-day management of diplomatic relations. However, the focus on practical matters risks marginalizing the study of diplomacy to the examination of procedural and bureaucratic issues, largely detached from the broader questions regarding the role of diplomacy in managing power relations in world politics.

Crises: Cross-national and Experimental Perspectives, Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 47, no. 3, 2003. 26) G.F. Kennan, Diplomacy Without Diplomats?, Foreign Affairs, vol. 76, no. 5, 1997. 27) I.B. Neumann, To Be a Diplomat, International Studies Perspectives, vol. 6, 2005; and Geoff Berridge, Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 4th edition 2010).

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The second epistemological position views diplomacy as an IR torch bearer that is, a theoretically original subject whose importance goes (as yet) unrecognized by others.28 This method is empirically rather than epistemologically driven, and probably because of this it enjoys good support among all of the relevant groups of diplomatic scholars. They generally take note of the evolution of diplomacy as an amorphous field of study at the intersection of IR and FPA, but promise to overcome stereotypes and marginalization through a broader, virginal and fecund research agenda that takes on a number of issues that are neglected by IR and FPA, such as sub-state diplomacy, multi-stakeholder diplomacy or sustainable diplomacy.29 By developing a research agenda that is distinct from IR and FPA, this approach could help diplomacy to claim a critical disciplinary identity, largely drawn from the innovative value of the theoretical contributions to result from such research. However, this move would come at the price of conceding most of the interesting theoretical aspects of international politics to IR and FPA. In fact, the identity of diplomacy as a field of study would basically revolve around residual categories left unsettled by IR and FPA epistemic debates and theoretical accounts. The third epistemological approach draws on the English School tradition and portrays diplomacy as a thinking framework about international politics. This method encourages theoretical reflections about the various diplomatic approaches that have structured international systems and societies in world history,30 compares arguments about pluralist versus solidaristic values, norms and institutions guiding diplomatic conduct,31 and offers insights into how diplomats make sense and shape the world via relationships of encounter, discovery and re-encounter.32 On the downside, this approach is underwritten by an epistemological humility about what it is possible to know and epistemological pessimism about how possible it is for human beings to reach agreement.33 As a result, it is likely to face difficulties in stimulating a vibrant and distinct research agenda on diplomatic issues. This limitation is visible at the empirical level, since no recent work inspired by the English School has made any meaningful theoretical distinction between diplomacy and IR. The notable exception is Paul Sharps book, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations, which possesses a critical mass of essential ingredients

Geoffrey Wiseman, Bringing Diplomacy Back In: Time for Theory to Catch Up with Practice, International Studies Review, vol. 13, no. 4, 2011, p. 711. 29) Stuart Murray, Diplomatic Theory and the Evolving Canon of Diplomatic Studies, International Studies Review, vol. 13, no. 4, 2011, pp. 720-721. 30) Hedley Bull and Adam Watson, The Expansion of International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984). 31) Andrew Hurrell, On Global Order: Power, Values, and the Constitution Of International Society (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). 32) Sharp, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations. 33) The author is grateful to one of the reviewers for this point.


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for attracting fellowship, but the jury is still out as to whether the underlying epistemology of Sharps approach will hinder or advance diplomatic research. In sum, none of the three epistemological positions look very promising in advancing a strong research agenda that is capable of removing diplomacy from the shadow of IR and FPA. The practical approach risks relegating the study of diplomacy to bureaucratic issues, the IR torch-bearing perspective subordinates diplomacy to the study of residual categories that are left unsettled by IR and FPA debates, while the thinking framework inspired by the English School finds reassurance in a certain degree of epistemological humility that sits uncomfortably with projects of foundational discipline-building. To bridge this epistemological gap, this article suggests that a more promising alternative would be to study diplomacy as a method of building and managing relations of enmity and friendship in world politics. Unlike the other three approaches, the focus on relationship management offers some important advantages. Relations of the constitution of enmity and friendship undoubtedly involve practical and bureaucratic aspects, but cannot be reduced to them. They can also contribute to developing a strong research agenda on diplomacy, but without conceding the issue to IR or FPA. Finally, by zooming in on the power that is wielded by diplomats as relationship creators, such an approach could also help to overcome some of the reservations that are expressed by scholars of the English School regarding the limitations of our understanding of how diplomacy shapes the world. This move thus presents four important advantages that may confer a clear and much-needed identity upon diplomacy as a field of study that is reasonably distinct from IR (systemic causes of conflict/cooperation) and FPA (sub-state processes of decision-making). First, this method would allow diplomatic studies to pursue theoretical engagement with IR and FPA from an equal standing. As will be elaborated in greater detail in the following section, an innovative research agenda could take shape about how diplomats develop, sustain and rearrange relations of enmity and friendship in international politics in a manner that incorporates, but is not exclusively driven by, IR/FPA residual puzzles or by the English School tripartite understanding of international politics. Second, such an approach will finally recognize the vital necessity of diplomatic leadership in guarding international society. As demonstrated by Ikenberry, all international orders that have been established in the modern period have been the result of diligent diplomatic efforts to reset and manage relations of enmity and friendship properly after periods of systemic change and upheaval.34 Third, a closer look at the relationship between diplomacy and international change can prove theoretically enlightening for understanding the evolving nature and scope of diplomatic agency. The rise of new actors with international standing

G. John Ikenberry, After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001).

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at the sub-national, regional and global levels has already been reshaping the traditional diplomatic functions of representation, communication and negotiation. This prompts the question of whether the status of diplomats will continue to be defined institutionally by affiliation to states and international organizations or will primarily be grounded in the actors capacity to shape critical relations of enmity and friendship in world politics. Fourth, the theorypractice gap in diplomatic studies could be bridged further by demonstrating the practical value of theoretically informed accounts of the mechanisms and processes by which diplomats steer international politics along constructive versus destructive pathways of interaction. In sum, by placing the question of enmity or friendship at the heart of the discipline, diplomatic scholars will be in a stronger position to raise and consolidate the profile of diplomatic studies relative to IR and FPA in an epistemologically consistent, theoretically innovative and practically relevant manner. The question that remains to be addressed is how to translate this conception of diplomacy into sound theoretical and empirical research. Two lines of investigation have strong potential for spearheading a vibrant research agenda on how diplomacy serves to build, manage and rearrange relations of enmity and friendship in world politics. First, building on existing research, we need to develop a better understanding of how diplomats learn to discriminate between allies and rivals. What norms, rules and values do they apply to structure their relations in terms of friendship versus enmity? How do they deal with competing relations of enmity and friendship? Second, little is known about how relationships of enmity and friendship are made and unmade in international politics. This is the area in which diplomatic studies have the strongest potential to make a distinct contribution. What does it take to prevent relations among diplomatic actors from becoming too disruptive? What strategies are most effective for improving diplomatic relations and building long-term partnerships? These questions will be addressed in the next two sections, which will not provide the answer, but rather one way of thinking about these matters.

How Do Diplomats Discriminate between Enemies and Friends? The concept of enmity or friendship does not present marginal relevance for the study of diplomacy in as much as it is deeply ingrained in the ontological foundation of the diplomatic method. As pointed out by Der Derian and Sharp, diplomacy represents a mode of understanding that privileges the plural character of human existence and seeks to mediate political and cultural estrangement.35

Sharp, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations, p. 10; and James Der Derian, On Diplomacy: A Genealogy of Western Estrangement (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987).



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Diplomacys origins lie with the first decisions of human groups to reach an understanding with their neighbours about the limits of each others hunting territories and the management of shared resources.36 Territorial constraints gradually led to the recognition by sovereigns that the performance of each one was a matter of permanent consequence to the others.37 Diplomacy is therefore, to a large extent, about making the other, a process that has unfortunately been intimately connected to an abuse-prone mechanism of inscription of social boundaries.38 This insight explains Bulls characterization of diplomacy as a fundamental institution of international order,39 in as much as the diplomatic management of enmity and friendship relations among various political communities has played an essential role in the constitution of international society. Indeed, the rise and consolidation of the modern sovereign state was closely associated with the establishment of the institution of the resident ambassador, whose main task was to manage enmity or friendship relations at foreign courts. By the fifteen century, the survival of states first in Northern Italy40 and then elsewhere critically depended on rulers being able to recruit and maintain the support of neighbouring powers. Cardinal Richelieu, the founder of the first ministry of foreign affairs, could not have been more categorical about this: I dare say emphatically that it is absolutely necessary to the well-being of the state to negotiate ceaselessly, either openly or secretly, and in all places.41 Richelieu went even further and provided the first doctrinal basis, the (in)famous raison dtat, for how to differentiate friends from enemies. For him, this distinction could not rest on religious affiliation or moral conventions, but only on conditions of how best to preserve and enhance the security of the state.42 The protection of the state, as the embodiment of collective will, was therefore the standard for defining pathways of enmity or friendship. Richelieus method of diplomatic statecraft remains prevalent among IR scholars of a realist orientation, for whom the constraints of the security dilemma and of the anarchic self-help system43 leave little room for friendship in international politics. As a result, they focus their attention on how to deal with potential rivals
Harold Nicolson, The Evolution of Diplomatic Method (London: Cassell, 1988), p. 3. Watson, Diplomacy, p. 15. 38) Iver B. Neumann, Self and Other in International Relations, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 2, no. 2, 1996; and William E. Connolly, Identity, Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, expanded edition 2002). 39) Bull, The Anarchical Society. 40) Garrett Mattingly, The First Resident Embassies: Medieval Italian Origins of Modern Diplomacy, in Christer Jnsson and Richard Langhorne (eds), Diplomacy (London and Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004), p. 222. 41) Armand Jean du Plessis Richelieu, Political Testament: The Significant Chapters and Supporting Selections (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1961), p. 95. 42) Kissinger, Diplomacy, p. 60. 43) Waltz, Theory of International Politics; and Robert Jervis, Cooperation under the Security Dilemma, World Politics, vol. 30, no. 2, 1978.
37) 36)

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and enemies,44 basically by creating and maintaining a favourable equilibrium of power in the system, either by increasing the states military capabilities or by building military alliances.45 Realists are right to argue that the protection of primary goals of social existence that is, security46 has been a traditional diplomatic function. Even to the present day, no diplomat is worthy of his or her title if they ignore protecting the integrity of the state against anything that questions its sovereignty. What this argument seems to be ignoring, however, is that other factors may play an equal and even more important role in the construction of diplomatic relations with allies and rivals. Tellingly, the institution of the resident ambassador was preceded by a network of consuls representing the interests not of the sending states, but of the merchant communities. In fact, throughout the medieval period, French, Italian and Spanish merchants used to elect consuls (consuli electi) to supervise their commerce and adjudicate disputes in the East. It was only in the sixteenth century that consuls started to be appointed by the sending states as official representatives.47 In other words, global trade, and the distribution of the economic burdens and benefits that result from taking part in the global economic system, represent another set of important drivers for diplomatic action, with major implications for the diplomatic management of enmity and friendship relations. This is so because financial crises48 and economic inequalities49 have proved to have just as crippling effects for the well-being of states and the international system as security threats. There is also a growing sense that without improving world trade, there will be no alternative to sustaining global peace and prosperity.50 This is why neo-liberals, unlike realists, see more opportunities for developing relations of friendship in world politics. Growing complex interdependence among states makes them less likely to engage in hostile diplomatic relations, especially when they are exposed to asymmetrical degrees of economic sensitivity and vulnerability.51

44) William R. Thompson, Great Power Rivalries (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1999). 45) Morgenthau, Politics among Nations; and Stephen M. Walt, The Origins of Alliances, Cornell Studies in Security Affairs (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987). 46) Bull, The Anarchical Society, p. 86. 47) Charles Chatterjee, International Law and Diplomacy (London and New York: Routledge, 2007), p. 250. 48) Susan Strange, Casino Capitalism (Oxford and New York: Blackwell, 1986). 49) Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Enzo Faletto, Dependency and Development in Latin America (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1979). 50) Robert Gilpin and Jean M. Gilpin, The Challenge of Global Capitalism: The World Economy in the 21st Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000); and Fabrice Lehmann and Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Peace and Prosperity through World Trade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). 51) Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1977).


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What is less clear, however, is how to explain the sharp deterioration of diplomatic relations among actors with strong security and economic ties? The diplomatic tensions between the United States and its European allies at the height of the Iraq crisis in 2003 represent the case in point. According to constructivist scholarship, relations of enmity or friendship are not informed by objectively defined projections of security or economic interests, but by inter-subjectively articulated values and norms. They allow actors to develop positive identifications with one another and other certain conditions that may evolve to prevent states from even considering the use of force against one another.52 The deterioration of diplomatic relations during the 2003 Iraq crisis between the United States and its European allies is therefore explained by the partial disruption of the core values and collective identity underpinning the transatlantic security community.53 More radically, David Campbell argued that foreign policy, and by extension diplomacy, is not only about the making of the other, but also, and perhaps primarily, about the social construction of the self. More specifically, foreign policy serves to enframe, limit, and domesticate a particular identity, including the form of domestic order, the social relations of production, and the various subjectivities to which they give rise.54 The theory of social identity has taken the constructivist argument a step further by highlighting the role of status recognition in framing relations of enmity and friendship. Agency is not simply determined by material factors such as security or wealth, but also by the social matrix within which one constitutes oneself as a moral subject.55 Denial of equal treatment and legal protection of ones moral integrity and dignity prompts feelings of humiliation, shame and anger, which have often been a major source of grievance, tension and international conflict.56 Put differently, status recognition addresses a deeply entrenched social need for in-group positivity, which may take benevolent or hostile forms depending on how the politics of status recognition is being managed. As Gries points out, in China, for instance, status recognition issues are often discussed in the language of face. What makes the diplomacy of recognition with China more challenging is that the zero-sum nature of face-saving and Chinas history of victimization at
52) Emanuel Adler and Michael N. Barnett, Security Communities, Cambridge Studies in International Relations no. 62 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). 53) C. Bjola and M. Kornprobst, Security Communities and the Habitus of Restraint: Germany and the United States on Iraq, Review of International Studies, vol. 33, no. 2, 2007. 54) Campbell, Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity, p. 139. 55) Philip Nel, Redistribution and Recognition: What Emerging Regional Powers Want, Review of International Studies, vol. 36, 2010; Axel Honneth, The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995); and Allen Buchanan, Recognitional Legitimacy and the State System, Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 28, no. 1, 1999. 56) Thomas Lindemann, Causes of War: The Struggle for Recognition (Colchester: ECPR Press, 2010); Reinhard Wolf, Respect and Disrespect in International Politics: The Significance of Status Recognition, International Theory 3, no. 1, 2011; and Richard Ned Lebow, A Cultural Theory of International Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

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the hands of the West combine to make many Chinese view diplomacy as a fierce competition between leaders who win or lose face for the nations that they embody.57 To sum up, existing research tells us that security, economics, identity and status recognition are the main drivers of enmity and friendship in worlds politics. What is less understood is how these theories fare from a diplomatic perspective. One possibility is to follow in the footsteps of Iver Neumann58 and ask how diplomats experience enmity friendship relations from a security, economic, identity or status recognition standpoint. What kind of scripts of diplomatic action do these drivers inspire, how do diplomats juggle these scripts and to what extent are they able to put these scripts into practice? Another important area of research would revolve around examining the ways in which enmity friendship relations are being carried over by diplomats from national to regional or international diplomatic environments. For example, how do members of the recently established European External Action Service (EEAS) handle competing relations of enmity and friendship? What instruments are to be used to reconcile such tensions? One could also take the long view la Sharp59 and examine how diplomatic relations of enmity and friendship shape international societies. More specifically, what type of enmity and friendship relations facilitate or impede the integration, expansion or concentration of international societies? Last but not least, an inspiring area of research would also result from exploring the role of sub-national and non-state actors in shaping diplomatic relations. To what extent, for instance, do social media technologies allow non-state actors today to compete with state officials and traditional diplomats in managing enmity and friendship relations?

How Do Diplomats Construct Relations of Enmity and Friendship? While conditions for the emergence of enmity and friendship relations have been relatively well researched, little is known about the process of sustaining and amending such relations. This is one important area in which diplomatic theory can demonstrate its analytical contribution, since most of the diplomatic work is about sustaining relations among international actors via traditional functions of representation, communication and negotiation. At the heart of the problem of theorizing about processes of relationship-building is a question about trust: how much trust is needed to turn a relationship of enmity into one of friendship? Realists and neo-liberals do not pay attention to this, since they assume that state
P.H. Gries, Social Psychology and the Identity-Conflict Debate: Is a China Threat Inevitable?, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 11, no. 2, 2005, p. 248. 58) Neumann, To Be a Diplomat. 59) Sharp, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations.


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behaviour is exclusively explained by interests. Constructivists have tackled the issue of trust, but indirectly, via notions of shared values60 and collective identification.61 Both approaches rest, however, on a notion of trust as an end state rather than a process. Hoffman tried to circumvent this problem by linking trusting relationships to discretion-granting policies,62 which seems like a rather tall order for trust-building. In addition, Hoffmans approach says little about how states may get themselves in a position to grant each other discretion over their policies. A diplomatic perspective can shed better light on the process of relations-making by pragmatically shifting the focus from the rather elusive question about trust to the more tangible issue of diplomatic engagement. The reasoning behind this comes from the observation that people usually start developing affinities towards each other by working and doing something together and then sharing the success of their collaboration. The concept that best captures theoretically this dynamic is that of collective intentionality. According to John R. Searle, collective intentionality refers to the beliefs, desires and intensions shared by different people as part of them doing something together.63 An orchestra performing a concert, an army fighting the enemy, a soccer team applying a common strategy to win the game, or a group of diplomats working together to defuse an international crisis are all cases of collective, not individual, intentionality. As Searle points out, the crucial element in collective intentionality is a sense of doing (wanting, believing, etc.) something together and the individual intentionality that each person has is derived from the collective intentionality that they share.64 A diplomat in the example above might have, for instance, the individual intention of constantly amending his or her negotiation preferences, yet the collective intentionality of avoiding a dangerous diplomatic escalation might restrain him or her from doing this. In other words, collective intentionality acts as a constraint against disruptive diplomatic behaviour. This is the critical element that recommends the concept as a theoretical anchor for understanding the processes of making relations of enmity or friendship. The litmus test for the latter is the degree to which the separate intentions of diplomats working together are being subsumed by collective intentionality. There is no doubt that diplomats often represent divergent interests, positions and issues. However, it is also true that some diplomats manage to overcome differences more easily than others, such as those from the
Adler and Barnett, Security Communities. Alexander Wendt, Collective Identity Formation and the International State, American Political Science Review, vol. 88, no. 2, 1994. 62) Aaron M. Hoffman, A Conceptualization of Trust in International Relations, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 8, no. 3, 2002. 63) John R. Searle, The Construction of Social Reality (New York: Free Press, 1995), p. 23. 64) Searle, The Construction of Social Reality, p. 25.
61) 60)

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Anglo-sphere (the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand).65 This article argues that the reason they are able to do this has much to do with collective intentionality. By doing things together over years and sharing the fruits of collaboration, they have learned that there is something more at stake in acting together than in acting separately. The reverse also holds true. Unsuccessful collaboration makes it more difficult for diplomats to build collective intentionality and, by extension, it prevents them from developing relations of friendship. In short, collective intentionality is a catalyst for relationships of friendship, whereas the lack of it paves the way for relations of rivalry and enmity. However, is it sufficient for diplomats to work together in order to develop collective intentionality? The answer is clearly no, as how you work together is equally important for learning how to act in concert. Drawing on the experience of the Concert of Europe in exercising self-restraint,66 Mitzen argues that the degree to which collective intentionality constrains individual intentionality is contingent upon the strength of the actors joint commitment to doing something together and the public openness of the commitment. The first condition normatively binds participants to the common project. Participants are not just committed to pursuing the same goals, but they own each others actions, in the sense that they feel obligated to direct their actions towards what they have committed to do.67 Publicity, on the other hand, allows them to share authority over their joint actions by providing them with the information necessary for staying engaged in the process: what the plan is, what does it entail, who is part of it, and how is each participant following through?68 In the same way in which transparency enhances regime cooperation by increasing actors confidence in each others actions,69 publicity creates the possibility for actors to govern together by exercising joint authority over their collective intentions. In short, the combination of joint commitment and publicity makes it possible for a collective goal to pull individual behaviour towards collectively desirable outcomes.70 Searles concept of collective intentionality and Mitzens theoretical insight of the conditions of joint commitment and publicity offer an analytical entrance to four diplomatic methods of relationship-making. First, the lack of joint commitment and publicity leads to a situation of active adversity. Joint commitment is
Srdjan Vucetic, The Anglosphere: A Genealogy of a Racialized Identity in International Relations (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011). 66) Mitzen, Reading Habermas in Anarchy, pp. 12-14. 67) Jennifer Mitzen, Governing Together: Global Governance as Collective Intention, in Corneliu Bjola and Markus Kornprobst (eds), Arguing Global Governance: Agency, Lifeworld and Shared Reasoning (New York: Routledge, 2010), p. 58. 68) Mitzen, Governing Together, p. 59. 69) R.B. Mitchell, Sources of Transparency: Information Systems in International Regimes, International Studies Quarterly, vol. 42, no. 1, 1998. 70) Mitzen, Governing Together, pp. 59-60.


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either too weak or inexistent to keep actors engaged in working together towards a common goal, while diplomatic opacity hinders joint problem-solving and decision-making. This is likely the most precarious form of diplomatic engagement, since no effective mechanism exists to manage the processes of negotiation and reconciliation of diplomatic differences. The pre-First Word War European diplomatic situation resembles this case well, partially because of the lack of a common conception of European order among the Great Powers and partly because of the secrecy of their diplomatic actions. The League of Nations, followed later by the United Nations, meant to address both limitations by providing a common goal for maintaining peace in Europe (collective security) and a transparent institutional framework for diplomatic consultation and engagement.71 At the opposite pole, strong joint commitment and publicity reinforce each other by generating an effective mechanism of dynamic friendship. Not only are actors strongly committed to the common project, but they also share broad authority in implementing it via a transparent mechanism of reconciling individual intentions. The case of the European Union provides an excellent illustration of this form of collective intentionality. On matters of environmental governance, for instance, the recently established EEAS has been given the role of strengthening the European Unions global leadership on climate change issues.72 In fulfilling this mandate, the EEAS is expected to bolster the internal policy coherence between the European Commission and the EU member states by acting as an informational channel for stakeholders, creating and maintaining highlevel contacts with governments, industry, non-government organizations and influential think tanks and by playing an important outreach role and participat[ing] actively in the public debate through seminars and information sessions.73 Diplomatic relations are most vulnerable to adjustment when one component of collective intentionality features an embryonic stage, while the other is reasonably well developed. This means that these relations can evolve in either direction active adversity or dynamic friendship depending on the degree to which diplomats on both sides understand to restrain individual actions through mutual engagement. The nascent rivalry scenario follows conditions of deficient commitment to a common project in the company of relatively transparent mechanisms of diplomatic coordination and decision-making. The current debate regarding the rise of China fits this model well. While diplomatic relations between China and the United States benefit from the presence of a plethora of institutional
Martyn Housden, The League of Nations and the Organisation of Peace (New York: Pearson Longman, 2011). 72) Council of the European Union, Council of the European Union, 2009, #596, available online at 73) EEAS, Towards a Renewed and Strengthened EU Climate Diplomacy, available online at http://

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arrangements, both at the global (United Nations and World Trade Organization) and regional levels (Association of South-East Asian Nations and the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation), there is no common understanding yet about how the rise of China should be diplomatically addressed. On the US side, there is uncertainty as to whether China is a status quo power74 or one that tries to reach hegemony without fighting.75 On the Chinese side, Chinese leaders keep sending mixed messages about China refusing to seek hegemony now, while at the same time reserving the right neither blindly [to] follow the position of others nor give way to the pressure of any forces.76 Finally, joint commitment to a common project and the limited capacity of authority-sharing give rise to relations of soft alliances. Joint commitment facilitates diplomatic engagement, while the limited capacity of authority-sharing undermines it. This paradoxical situation is most visibly illustrated by the increasingly convoluted state of diplomatic relations between the United States and Pakistan. On the one hand, both countries share the general objective of combating global terrorism, pacifying Afghanistan and maintaining stability and peace in the Indian subcontinent.77 On the other hand, they have failed so far especially on the Pakistan side78 to work constructively in developing an effective mechanism by which diplomats from the two countries can share authority over the implementation of their common strategic objectives. As a result, US Pakistan relations have deteriorated to the point that they are now challenging the very premises of their cooperation.79 The four categories of relationship-making that are outlined above provide an original framework for bridging an important gap in IR theory and FPA: how are relations of enmity and friendship made and unmade in world politics? While certain factors (security, economics, identity and status recognition) tend to predispose international actors to view themselves as enemies or friends, it is the diplomatic process by which these determinants are construed and applied in practice that decides the outcome. In short, agency matters and diplomats are in the unique position to determine what type of relationship to enter into with other actors, on what terms and what to do about it. This framework provides a

A.I. Johnston, Is China a Status Quo Power?, International Security, vol. 27, no. 4, 2003. Aaron L. Friedberg, A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia (New York: Norton, 1st edition 2011). 76) Wen Jiabao, China Has No Hegemonic Aspirations, UN Hears, available onlone at http://www 77) Aparna Pande, Explaining Pakistans Foreign Policy: Escaping India (London and New York: Routledge, 2011). 78) Howard B. Schaffer and Teresita C. Schaffer, How Pakistan Negotiates with the United States: Riding the Roller Coaster (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2011). 79) K. Alan Kronstadt, Pakistan US Relations, Congressional Research Service, available online at



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useful map for understanding the diplomatic construction of relations of enmity and friendship, but further work is clearly needed. First, the four processes of relationship-making represent broad analytical categories and hence they require further specification. Each of them can accommodate a number of subdivisions depending on the intensity of enmity or friendship in the relationship. For example, there are different degrees of friendship within the European Union, which vary according to the extent to which the member states accept to subsume their individual actions under EU collective intentionality. Germany is clearly one of the most enthusiastic members to follow this principle, while the United Kingdom is arguably at the opposite end of the spectrum. Similarly, the relationship of active adversity between the United States and North Korea is of a different tonality than the one between Iran and Israel. In other words, there is much to learn from investigating the varying levels of enmity and friendship within each analytical category in order to get a better grasp of the type of diplomatic strategies that are responsible for the increase or reduction of collective intentionality within a particular set of relationships. Second, the question of power continues to remain a blind spot in diplomatic theory. Sharp rightly points out that diplomacy puts people in touch with power, but in a rather paradoxical manner: diplomats largely live and work in the proximity of power, but they rarely exercise the power directly.80 When they do so, they are either assumed to communicate threats and promises in support of certain strategic objectives, or to deploy soft power via various instruments of public diplomacy.81 A collective intentionality approach suggests that diplomats have more power than they think. They wield the power to make relations! Unlike the other two forms of diplomatic power, the power to make relations emerges not before the actors interactions, but through diplomatic engagement. Put differently, diplomats do not exercise power directly over one another, but rather through relations of enmity or friendship. Forging joint commitments and fostering authority-sharing are the key tools of relationship-building, but little is known about how they work in practice. This is a major contribution that diplomatic theory is uniquely placed to make to the study of international politics, yet it remains largely under-theorized. Third, a collective intentionality approach invites serious questions about the relationship between diplomacy and ethics, a debate that has been rather muted in the literature thus far. Owing partially to the doctrinal legacy of the raison dtat, diplomacy has evolved on a parallel track from the evolution of international norms of ethical standards.82 This divide is no longer tenable, as


Sharp, Diplomatic Theory of International Relations, p. 58. Jan Melissen, The New Public Diplomacy: Soft Power in International Relations (Houndmills and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); and Joseph S. Nye, Public Diplomacy and Soft Power, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, no. 616, 2008. 82) Chatterjee, International Law and Diplomacy, p. 73.

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considerations of global justice, accountability, duty and legitimacy are increasingly prevalent in the diplomatic discourse. As a method of managing relations of enmity and friendship, diplomacy offers different theoretical angles for understanding its ethical limits. For example, to what extent is the act of subsuming individual intentions to collective intentionality morally right? The case of the European Unions diplomatic compliance with the US rendition programme provides a good illustration for this dilemma.83 Similarly, what kind of ethical limits do relationships of enmity place upon diplomats? Is, for instance, negotiation with villains84 a feasible option for diplomats and if yes, under what conditions? In sum, what are the ethical boundaries at which diplomacy turns into anti-diplomacy?

Conclusions This article extends an invitation to diplomatic scholars to a debate about the identity of diplomacy as a field of study and the contributions that it can make to our understanding of world politics relative to IR or FPA. To this end, the article has argued that diplomacy has been approached so far from three distinct epistemological perspectives: as a practical mode of conducting international relations; as a torchbearer whose importance goes (yet) unrecognized by others; and as a thinking framework about international politics. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with continuing to pursue research on diplomatic issues from these three perspectives. However, these approaches experience varying degrees of difficulty in steering a strong research agenda that would allow diplomacy to escape from the epistemic shadow of IR and FPA. As a way to address this limitation, the article suggests that a more promising alternative would be to study diplomacy as a method of building and managing relations of enmity and friendship in world politics. More specifically, diplomacy offers a specialized form of knowledge for understanding how to draw distinctions between potential allies and rivals, and how to make and unmake relationships of enmity and friendship in world politics. In support of this argument, the article has made three points: it has explained why approaching diplomacy as a method of managing relations can consolidate the identity of the discipline. It then examined how diplomatic studies may benefit from paying better attention to theories of enmity and friendship. Finally, it has offered an analytical framework, centred on the concept of collective intentionality,
83) European Parliament, Resolution on the Alleged Use of European Countries by the CIA for the Transportation and Illegal Detention of Prisoners (2006/2200(INI)), available online at http://www 84) B.I. Spector, Negotiating with Villains Revisited: Research Note, International Negotiation, vol. 8, no. 1, 2003.


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for studying the diplomatic construction of relationships of enmity and friendship in world politics. In sum, the article concludes that the successes and failures of diplomacy have much to do with the skill and competence by which diplomats succeed in managing complex and dynamic relations of enmity and friendship in world politics.
Corneliu Bjola is a University Lecturer in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford. His research interests cover the role of diplomacy in shaping international change, ethical dimensions of diplomatic relations and theories of innovation in international negotiations. In addition to various scholarly articles, he is the co-author of Understanding International Diplomacy: Theory, Practice and Ethics (London: Routledge, forthcoming 2013), co-editor of Arguing Global Governance: Agency, Lifeworld and Shared Reasoning (London: Routledge, 2010), and the author of Legitimating the Use of Force in International Politics: Kosovo, Iraq and the Ethics of Intervention (London: Routledge, 2009). Dr Bjola is also the co-editor of the New Diplomacy Studies book series from Routledge.